(CNN)When I was a kid, field trips to the local science museum or planetarium were more appealing than any playground.
Disposable camera in hand, I marveled that a dinosaur fossil could tower over me in one room while an Apollo capsule seemed to float in the next. The things I learned created constellations of fascination.
My mom would take me on a regular basis so we could see the latest film exploring the ocean depths or check on "Steggy" the stegosaurus. (Somewhere, there is a photo of me with my arms thrown around his neck.)
They say the things we love as children stay with us; I was reminded of that this week when NASA announced the name of its moon-bound mannequin, voted on by space fans. The name has a special legacy behind it that took me right back to the first time I peered up at the Apollo exhibit.
Thank you for joining us on our weekly expeditions through the wonders of this world and what exists beyond it. We're thrilled you're along for the ride.
Comets, planets and stars spill across the sky in breathtaking new images that capture the striking beauty of Earth and space.
Photographers from 75 countries submitted more than 4,500 images to the 2021 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.
The images reveal natural wonders captured during a time when many were forced inside by the pandemic. Luckily for us, these photographers ventured out and set their eyes on the skies.
The winners will be announced in September, so check back to see how your favorites fare.
Fossils and fireballs
Dinosaurs were doomed to disappear from the Earth when a city-size asteroid slammed into our planet 66 million years ago. But new research suggests these creatures weren't exactly thriving before that fateful strike.
Scientists studied 1,600 dinosaur fossils, representing 247 species, to track their evolution.
The dino populations were doing well until something suddenly put a stop to their success millions of years before the asteroid impact.
The research, which contradicts other recent studies, suggests two different factors that contributed to dinosaur decline before their ultimate end.